(California) – Kenneth Kim, a Banning High School math teacher, will be honored Friday as the winner of a 2017 outstanding educator award at Cal State Dominguez Hills, his alma mater.

The California Teacher Corps presents the Michael McKibbin Outstanding Educator Award to teachers who pursued the profession by an “alternative route.” Alternative certification brings people from diverse, non-educational, backgrounds into a program that trains them to teach.

For Kim, he came to America from South Korea with his family when he was 16, graduating from North High School in Torrance in 1992. He spent eight years in the military and worked in the field of logistics.

However, when he returned from the service, he wanted to find a career that could make a difference in his community.

With bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dominguez Hills, he entered a teaching intern program and worked in a full-time residency for the 2015-16 school year. Afterwards, he took on his current position as a math teacher.

Kim volunteers to stay after school several days a week for one-on-one tutoring because some of his classes are larger than others. He receives no extra pay for the time he spends during the tutoring sessions.

Kim, a Gardena resident, said he was humbled and surprised by the award, adding that “there are a lot of great teachers out there.”